Stanislaw Lem
From His Master's Voice:
If we lived a billion times more slowly, and correspondingly longer, if a second - in this fancy - equaled an entire century, we would certainly conclude that the continents of the globe were processes, seeing with our own eyes how changeable they were, for they would be moving before us no less than waterfalls do, or ocean currents. And if, on the other hand, we lived a billion times faster, we would conclude that the waterfall was an object - because it would present itself to us as something highly immobile and immutable. The difference between "object" and "process," therefore, gave no need for concern....

- sally mckay 11-22-2003 9:29 am

I just noticed that Lem's website has a poem by Dylan Thomas on it! That's intriguing. Both of them like to cram about a novel's worth of things to think about into a single line or sentence.
- sally mckay 11-22-2003 10:19 am

From the Soderbergh interview on that page:

Exactly, and my whole pitch to James Cameron's company, because they owned the rights [to Solaris], and it was something I was interested in for awhile, and I said if we do our jobs right it’s a combination of “2001” and “Last Tango in Paris.” They said "Oh that sounds good."

Gag me! The Player was supposed to be satire.

- tom moody 11-22-2003 10:36 am

I like Lem's point, from the same page, that if he'd intended the book to be about the love of a man and a woman in space he would of called it Love in Outer Space instead of Solaris.
- sally mckay 11-22-2003 7:36 pm

I didn't see the Clooney film, but the thing that's so dishonest about Soderbergh's statement is no commercial Hollywood film made today could come anywhere near the extremes of Last Tango (sadism, sodomy) or 2001 (long shots and silences). All Hollywood people can do now is make watered-down, crappy versions of those classic films they always invoke.

Lem's right, even Tarkovsky treated the Ocean as a simple gelatinous skin wrapped around the planet. One of the most exciting things about the book was the bio-geography of the Ocean's topologically complex, ultimately incomprehensible structures: tree-mountains, extensors, fungoids, mimoids, symmetriads, asymmetriads, etc. The book is chilling because after decades of study of our first ET contact (the Ocean) we're utterly clueless. Even when the planet starts producing synthetic humans, no conclusions can be drawn. Tarkovsky in his version seized on the essential solipsism of our first contact: the Ocean becomes a place for the endless dreamlike replaying of primal scenes.

Love story in space, Jesus.

- tom moody 11-22-2003 8:00 pm

all that said, and I agree completely, I kind of liked the Soderbergh Solaris. It was really really slow and colourful and blissed-out. One might say tedious, but I got into it. The love story did get monotonous but there were parts that were genuinely creepy. Stupid ending but what else is new. I kind of recommend it. I still haven't seen the Tarkovsky version.
- sally mckay 11-22-2003 8:16 pm

In response to your query about people having "posting names" I think they just type in the one they want to use and check "remember me." I've logged out as [insert privileged tree member's name here] and am posting under the fine name below. I'll post again and see if the system remembers me.
- george clooney 11-23-2003 12:17 am

Wow! By checking "remember me" I have the ability to edit my own comments. Nice touch, Jim.
- george clooney 11-23-2003 12:19 am

On the [home] page or your page, under [settings] I have a password so I can login and see new posts and comments. Double wow. I know, I sound like George Bush Sr. learning about the supermarket scanner.
- george clooney 11-23-2003 12:23 am

nice trick, george! thanks for the info. Wanna meet me later in the trunk of a car?
- jennifer lopez (guest) 11-23-2003 1:01 am

yeah, the tip about how to find the password in case you ever needed to be able to sign back in is about the only trick.
- jim 11-23-2003 2:11 am

Back on topic, Sally, have you read The Chain of Chance? It's a pretty good Lem book.

- tom moody 11-23-2003 8:59 am

huh. Nope I haven't read it. The excerpt at is fun. I am liking His Master's Voice for its almost total lack of structure. I am curious to see what he does with the mystery/thriller format.
- sally mckay 11-23-2003 6:45 pm

I like the actual title of the book (Katar) better. The Chain of Chance is a spoiler! More soon, gotta run.

- tom moody 11-23-2003 7:09 pm

anyone read the article about Dick in Wired? It's interesting hearing about his kids, but a title article it does not make. Very Yoda, that last sentence was. wise I am.
- Joester (guest) 11-26-2003 8:38 am